Introduction

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a severe, chronic, autoimmune disease, in which widespread inflammation can result in damage to a broad range of organ systems. The prognosis for patients with SLE has dramatically improved over the past 30 years so that the majority of patients will survive 10 to 20 years or longer with their disease; however, morbidity is high due to intermittent disease flares and treatment-related toxicity. Although the onset of SLE is most common in the age range of 20 to 40 years, a significant number of patients have onset of SLE in childhood and adolescence.

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